Gigabit Ethernet & GigE Vision
In the course of the last years, new standards have been introduced again and again to the classic analogue camera interface, which, however, make the programming and integration of the camera technology difficult for the user due to individual proprietary solutions of the respective manufacturers.
The last, current development on the industrial machine vision market is the GigE vision standard. It defines the hardware standard in the form of the widely used Gigabit Ethernet interface as well as the software standard for the communication protocol. The so-called GenICam interface (generic programming interface for all kinds of cameras) allows for a cross-manufacturer standard and access to the functionalities of the devices and is part of the GigE vision standard. Proprietary special solutions are avoided.
Advantages of GigE Vision
- Employed are widely used hardware technologies (controller chips, network cards, switches, plugs, cables) which must not be developed separately. Special hardware, such as frame grabber cards, is no longer required.
- The technology comes from the communication mass market (company LAN, internet), is cheap and sophisticated. The consequence is a reduction of the system costs.
- A high, stable data throughput is guaranteed by means of a transfer rate of approx. 100 MB/s. In this way, also more complex multi-camera solutions can be operated as well as higher-resolution fast industrial cameras without problems.
- Even greater cable lengths of up to 100 m are possible on copper-cable basis. Any other digital interface like USB, FireWire and CameraLink is clearly limited in this regard and only achieves lengths between 5 and 10 m without tricks. This is often too short in an industrial environment.
- The new software standard GenICam simplifies the ease of operation, programming and support by way of standardisation.
- A large hardware selection which can be used by the employed software makes it easier to solve tasks.
- A better long-time availability thanks to replaceable hardware also across different manufacturers facilitates the stock keeping of spare parts and the system maintenance.
State-of-the-art camera families on the basis of Gigabit Ethernet / GigE vision-compatible cameras are available today which cover almost all fields of application from 0.3 to 12 (or even up to 29) megapixels, monochrome or colour, CCD or CMOS. Thanks to the GenICam standard, good cameras of different manufacturers are almost 100% plug&play in order that proprietary drivers and hardware must no longer be used. Cable lengths of up to 100 m are ideal for industrial applications. The bandwidth of 90 - 100 MB/s is even sufficient for many line scan camera applications.